Sunday, January 5, 2020

Looking to a New Decade of Wonder, Love and Peace

This is taken directly from Maria Shriver's "Sunday Papers" blog posted today
 It has inspired me to strive to make the best of the new year 2020 and the decade which follows.

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't even happened yet.” -Anne Frank

I've Been Thinking...

I wrote a version of today’s column just a few days before New Year’s. In it, I wrote about my resolutions for the year ahead, and also how I wanted to feel. Then January 1 arrived, and I tossed everything aside. Why? Well, after doing some reflecting that day (as I do every year), it became clear to me that New Year’s resolutions wouldn’t be enough this time around.
After all, this isn’t just the start of a new year. It’s the start of a great new decade. And a lot can happen in 10 years. I spent some time on New Year’s Day thinking back on the decades of my past, and how many big, life-altering things had happened in my life. That’s when I realized that I wanted to set intentions for my entire decade ahead.
Once I decided that, bam! My “decade descriptor” appeared.
I want this to be the decade where I take my own breath away, I said to myself. I want to take myself aback with everything I do. I want to surprise myself, challenge myself, and push myself. I want to enter this new year and this new decade with absolutely no script.
I have no plan for my life, and that is both exhilarating and terrifying. I have accomplished many of the goals I set for myself as a young woman, and yet, here I stand on the precipice of a new decade with a wide, open field of possibilities staring me in the face. I feel like this open field is calling me to dream new dreams, to try new things, and to embrace the paradoxes that exist within me and all around me.
I have no idea what life has in store for me, but I feel confident in a way that I didn’t in the decades of the past. I feel confident now that I have everything within me that I need to make this decade spectacular.
I know I want to be both strong and vulnerable in the decade ahead. I want to be fierce and feminine. Daring and dutiful. Creative and curious. Monastic and social. Quiet and wild. I want to be free. I want to belong. But, most of all, I want to be open—not closed.
I want to be open to new opportunities, new experiences, new ideas, new dreams, and new people. I’ve already started to surprise myself lately by using my voice in ways I didn’t dare to before. In the past, I admired certain qualities in others that I didn’t think existed within me, only to discover that, lo and behold, they did and they do. That realization alone took my own breath away.
So, know this: all those positive attributes you admire in others? Well, guess what? They live within you as well. All those things you marvel at others for can do them too, if you want. You are the artist of your life, and there is no other life like yours. That is your super power. That is what makes you unique. You don’t need a script. You are free to write and live out whatever you choose. Yes, you can.
So gasp at the sunrise and the sunset. Gasp when you see a rainbow and a newborn baby. Look with awe and wonder at new love and old enduring love. Let life take your breath away.
I took the picture above because the scene and the moment took my breath away. I encourage you to stand on your own proverbial dock and imagine yourself jumping into life in a way you haven’t before. Ask yourself what you need in love and in life. Trust me, you can survive whatever the answer is. In fact, you can survive anything and everything. How do I know that? Because you are extraordinary.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Allow yourself to be awed and amazed at the creation of you. Don’t look at your flaws, your wrinkles, or anything else you don’t like. Be amazed that you are staring back at yourself. Love that image. Be gentle with it. Let your eyes smile at yourself. See yourself through God’s eyes, and then surround yourself with others who look at you that way, too.
This decade, I’m going to continue on the path of self empowerment, self actualization, and self amazement. I’m going to do it while continuing to serve others and do whatever I can to move humanity forward. This is a big important year, and the truth is that we can all move humanity forward with our thoughts, words, and actions. In fact, we must.
We must speak up. We must stand up. We must vote, vote, vote. (I was reminded yet again this week that the stakes have never been higher for our country after we witnessed the beginning of another foreign disupte with Iran.) And we must dare to surprise ourselves. I hope those all seem like good intentions for what will certainly be a good—actually, a great— new year. And an amazing new decade.
I hope you feel the same. I hope you feel the possibility and the wonder of all that lies ahead for you. I hope you dare to take your own breath away.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

This is my Birthday Mantra

"Everything in your life is there as a vehicle for your transformation. Use it!" -Ram Dass

“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Monday, December 16, 2019

Celebrating Barb, Mary and Jocelyn's Birthdays

We had a great time celebrating my sister in law Barb, my sister Jocelyn and my bff Mary's birthdays last night.

We started with appetizers and Prosecco

Vicente made a great radicchio, persimmon and avocado salad

Mary made two kinds of garlic bread

There was lasagna

Italian style roast beef

and brussel sprouts with cranberries, walnuts and bleu cheese

We had party favors which we opened up. Some did not do their obligatory popping sound but we all followed through reading our jokes and trivia questions.

This was followed by gift opening

and singing Happy Birthday to this wonderful trio.

 As per usual laughter was plentiful and smiles all around the table all night long.

Wishing Barb, Mary and Jocelyn a very happy fun filled and healthy year ahead! We look forward to many more celebrations in the new year with all of you!

Happy Birthdays indeed!
Love, Barb and Mike


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Brunch with John

Among the holiday cards we use to receive every Christmas was one I especially looked forward to. It was from our friends John and Linda Stevens. Affixed to the front of the card was a photograph they had taken during the year. Sometimes it was a picture from a recent trip or some arty framed shot. Inside was a short message and often a poem that Linda had written. Linda sadly passed away a few short years ago. Her friendship and presence in our lives is deeply missed. We try to see John as often as we can. He and Linda were a wonderful duo. She was the lively, vivacious one and he was her audience, adoring and loving her greatly. It was a good marriage. Today we had brunch with John and he said he's been dreaming often of Linda lately. I said "Oh i believe that our loved ones visit us when they come to us in dreams." Then I added "I bet she leaves you signs of her visits, things for you to find that remind you of her, things that say I'm here with you." He looked at me and then said I have to show you something. He got up and handed me a notebook that he had found a few days ago. In it was the poem Linda had been writing for the Christmas card she was not able to send. It said:" I sit and eat good food, with flowers, and toys that tell the season and chimes that tell the hour and love across the table and smiles that say it all."

 Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, eyeglasses, table and indoor

 Image may contain: 2 people, including Jocelyn Yamadera Cassano, people smiling, people sitting and indoor

 Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, indoor

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 Image may contain: 3 people, including Jocelyn Yamadera Cassano, people smiling, people standing 
Here's a photo of Linda and John and me a long time ago. I have known Linda and John practically my whole life. Knew them before I ever met Mike. After Mike came into the picture they would invite us to plays, concerts, art exhibits and to many dinners out. What a long and beautiful friendship with these two.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Happy Birthday Jocelyn

"One's sister is part of one's essential self, an eternal presence of one's heart, soul and memory."

I could not have wished for a kinder,



 more creative,

 funnier sister 


 than YOU!

"Happy Birthday Jocelyn!" 

  My one and only best "Same Same" sister ever!

 Love you to the moon and back a trillion times.

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